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6 Things You Can Do in January to Make Your Blog Better in 2017

Posted By Guest Blogger 22nd of December 2016 Writing Content 0 Comments

6 things you can do in January to make your blog better in 2017 | on ProBlogger.net

As 2016 winds down, many of us are looking towards 2017 wondering what we can do to take our blogs to the next level. Will next year be the year we finally:

  • Turn our blog into a legitimate side-hustle?
  • Score a guest post on a big site?
  • Launch that online course?

Whatever our individual goals might be, every blogger can benefit from doing the following six things in January:

1. Take a break

Those first couple of weeks in January? Everyone’s either still on holiday, or slowly working their way back into the new year after the craziness of Christmas. If ever there was a good time to take a blog hiatus, this is it. Many people fret that if they take time off they will lose the momentum they’ve spent the whole year building. Experience has taught me nothing is further from the truth. A hiatus makes your readers miss you and this is always a good thing.

Give yourself permission to have at least the first two weeks of January off. Don’t post anything on your blog. Reduce the time you’re spending on social media. Use that time to catch up on reading and go for long walks.

Not only will you be mentally refreshed when it comes time to write on your blog again, you’ll also have a ton of ideas ready to work on.

2. Reflect on 2016

January’s also a good time to do deep dive into your stats. Analyse what was common to your most popular posts. Make a note of the posts you most enjoyed writing. Identify the things you thought would go well, but didn’t.

The difference between a good blog and a great blog lies at the intersection of what your readers enjoy reading, and you enjoy writing. It’s difficult to identify where that intersection lies if you never take time to reflect.

3. Run a survey

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years, it’s that many of the assumptions I make are wrong. Which is why it’s good policy to always test your assumptions and there’s no better way to do this than via a survey.

Identify the assumptions you have made about who your readers are and what kind of information they want from you … and then create a survey that tests those assumptions. The results you get might lead to a slight change in direction that makes all the difference for your blog in 2017.

4. Set goals like a ninja

January is not the time for vague statements like ‘I want to be a better blogger in 2017’. January is the time for identifying exactly what you want to achieve and then ensuring the things you are striving for are SMART goals:

S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable {Source}

What your 2017 SMART goals might look like:

  1. Increase my email subscribers by 5% in the first quarter of the year
  2. Publish eight quality posts over the course of February and March
  3. Send out a subscriber email every week without fail
  4. Start a podcast
  5. Create an e-book

5. Map out the exact steps for achieving your goals

Telling yourself ‘I will increase my email subscribers by 5% in the first quarter of the year’ is one thing. Doing it is another. (Sounds silly, but quite often I see people thinking the setting of the goal is all they need to do to achieve it.)

What actually allows you to achieve your goal is mapping out, step-by-step, the things you are going to do to get there.

The steps for increasing your email subscribers might look like this:

  1. Check your email sign up form actually works
  2. Ensure the call to action/opt in gift is something your readers really want
  3. Create a pop-up version of your subscribe form and set it to appear when a reader has made it all the way to the end of a post
  4. Monitor the conversion rate on the pop-up subscribe form after two weeks and see if there is anything I can do to increased that conversion rate

If your goal is to write one blog post each week for the entire year, you will benefit from writing down exactly which day of the week you’re going to:

  1. Write your first draft
  2. Edit the post
  3. Press publish

As an example, this year I’ve aimed to publish a high-quality blog post every Thursday. To do that consistently I know I need to write a dodgy first draft on Monday, edit it on Wednesday, then give it a final polish and publish it on Thursday.

Studies have shown that writing down your intentions about WHEN you are going to do the things involved in achieving your goal significantly increases the likelihood of you achieving that thing – and I have certainly found that to be true this year.

6. Choose a guiding word or mantra for the year

Sometimes, when we’re toiling away deep in the bowels of our blogs, it’s easy to lose sight of why we do this thing. Particularly when things aren’t going as well as we’d like. At times like these, it’s handy to have a guiding word or phrase that acts as a reminder of the impact we’re trying to have on people’s lives. Phrases like:

  • Be useful
  • Change lives
  • Interact – Inform – Inspire

While we’re all blogging for some kind of personal gain (increased income or profile, an outlet, a way to connect with others), it’s important to remember that a blog can’t be successful without happy readers. The mantras above (or the mantra you choose for yourself), help remind us of this.

Bring on 2017

In an interview I did with Mark Manson a few months he said: ‘With my writing, I aim to always be moving ahead, always experimenting and exploring. A repetitive blog is a dead blog.’ Take care of the above six things in January and you can be assured your blog won’t be in any danger of becoming repetitive or dead any time soon.

Kelly Exeter is a writer, editor, and designer who’s endlessly fascinated by the power of the stories we tell ourselves. She explores these on her blog and in her books Practical Perfection and Your Best Year Ever. Connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Comments
  1. Thanks for motivational article. As my blog is new, my goal is to publish minimum one quality post every week.

    • Great goal Pawan – I think aiming for just one quality post a week (instead of a minimum of one post) might be a good one :)

      • Kelly ,
        I dont understand why people(blogger) advice for rest ?
        If I were you I will write “take risk” in place ” take break “

  2. I like the survey idea and toying with a way to incorporate this idea into my posts. I am spending the Christmas holiday making plans on new content ideas I want to write about for 2017. Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. I also love the idea of surveying your readers. We have never done it before so to get on the right track in 2017 this will be the number one on my list.

    Thanks for a great list Kelly and happy holidays to everyone! ;)

  4. Thanks for the list Kelly. I think mapping out exact goals is a really important process. Everyone has goals – but knowing the specific steps to achieve them will only make the process easier.

  5. Hey Kelly,

    From all those years, I have been thinking about setting up some new goals and this new year, I am going to do it.

    The ninja goals, well, this is the time to take a break from work. People really need something to relax.

    ~Ravi

  6. Excellent advice, Kelly. I love the idea of an annual mantra. We do this within our church and I’ve heard of it in connection to having a personal “word” of the year. I’ve never thought of it in connection to blogging though.

    • I find it really helps when I lose my way or my ‘why’ with my blog – I come back to my ‘word’ and it gets things back on track pretty quickly :)

  7. Always think its good to take breaks away from the day to day work schedule. Reflect and take time to rejuvenate. Come back being refreshed and energized. This will certainly come through in the articles and blogs you write and share. Appreciate you sharing these tips.

  8. Perhaps, point no. 6 is what every blogger should follow. Not just money making should be the sole intention. It would lead to tweaking commercial elements into blogs and on the whole lose the basic idea of providing useful information to readers.

  9. Hello Kelly,

    Very informative and motivational Tips. I am also doing a lot of things to grow my blog. I do need a break from it. Christmas is coming and it is holiday and fun-time. Through this period I am going to take rest and regain my power. I will definitely work on your strategies. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • So glad you found it helpful Vishwajeet x

      • Great tips. Here are 2 cents if you want to build a better blog in 2017 and beyond.

        Know your audience persona: Get to know who your target audience are. Find out their demographics. Do competitor research.

        Find where they frequently hang out online and get to know their wants and needs so you can easily create engaging content and products for them.

        Become good at keyword research: Search traffic is the lifeblood for any profitable blog.

        So make sure to find keywords that increase your traffic and sales.

  10. “Score a guest post on a big site?”

    Hahaha, Kelly couldn’t just wait for 2017 to do that :D

  11. Hello,

    I’m new to problogger and blogging.

    My SMART goal for next year will be to start collecting subscribers and to write an e-book about my niche. For #6 a few days ago I asked myself “Why was my blog for?” The simple answer was for ME. I feel like if I blog for visitors I would get writers block and I’m trying to avoid because it has happened to me in the past.

  12. Hi,

    New Year entails us to be creative, innovative and smart. Your post makes me motivated enough to follow them to better my blogging career as well.

  13. The first things that I do in the month of January every year are

    1. To analyze my performance in the previous year (Achievement & Failure Both)
    2. Set Goals For The New Year

    Last year I set a goal which was looking unrealistic to me at the beginning but I took the challenge. Now I have already achieved the goal in the month November i.e 1 month before.

    When planning & execution is right, nothing is impossible.

    -Tauseef

  14. I especially like tip # 6, the Mantra. I’ve used it in the past, every day, but not for a long time—had forgotten just how helpful it can be. Thanks for the reminder.

    JQK

  15. Very informative indeed, I particularly like the SMART goal setting idea, the concept of goal setting and the application of the acronym ‘SMART’ are indeed powerful tools. Another interesting part is that of ‘rewards’. This can really help to meet with deadlines in no time.

  16. I really like the sixth tips

    my mantra for 2017 is to have more empathy

  17. Really nice article. I’m on a blogging break currently; I’ve started analysing my perfirmance in 2016 and I”m looking at ways to greatly improve my blog in 2017. I’m going to literally write down all my goals for 2017 and I believe I would be able to achieve them. Thanks for this useful post.

  18. Hi Kelly, Such a great read! This will be a list I come back to throughout the year to remind me to stay on track. And The bottom line is that if you want people to engage with you on your blog, you have to consider their wants and needs as well.

    Thank you so much for making it so simple.

  19. A great article I liked the part about reflection and how looking at 2016 and making smart goals that are approachable for 2017. Thanks for all the great tips you provide over the years.

    Lori English

  20. Great article. I am taking this week to figure out my strategy for 2017. One of the things I want to work on is finding one or two more trusted contributors to add content to my site. I am also working on finally putting my home office to work and making it into my creative space.

  21. Thank you for the interesting article. I actually took my blogging break for the last two weeks of December. I’ve enjoyed it and taken that time to read more.

  22. A hiatus makes your readers miss you and this is always a good thing.

  23. Excellent post. I love the idea of survey’s as well. Doing a survey could also help with new content ideas. As I just started my blog I will not be taking time off but will start doing this next year. I also like the idea of setting days when you will write your post, edit it and put final touches on it. Very excellent way to keep on track. To add to this one thing I have been doing is to write 1 or 2 extra blog posts to publish at a later date when there is time to write them. This has helped with staying consistent every week even if things happen and there is no time to write a blog post.

  24. I think the idea of running a survey to figure out what your visitors want is a great idea. Definitely something I will implement next year, thanks for the insight.

  25. This is by FAR the most useful blogging advice I’ve read in a very long time. Thank you! A break is exactly what I need and I could really put that write-edit-publish schedule to good use. I pride myself on being organised in my other business and yet I can be total rubbish when it comes to the blog. Go figure. Wishing you a very Happy 2017!

  26. I think it is pretty much realisistic and I never thought of taking a break untill I came across this. I will now start working on other stuff to improve my blog, rather than posting blogs….

  27. Great insights! Thank you for sharing them. We can’t overestimate the importance of setting SMART goals and then mapping out the exact steps for achieving them. Clarity is important. If we want to achieve our goals, we need to know where to direct our attention and efforts.

  28. This is great.

    #4 and #5 jumped out to me.

    I really like the Idea of mapping out the exact steps for achieving your goals.

    Setting a goal is one thing and achieving that goal is another thing which actually depends on how well you answer this question to yourself ‘How do I plan to achieve this goal or these goals’?

    It’s one thing to identify these steps that will help us achieve our goals and it’s another thing to take action.

    Taking action requires self-discipline which is something we some times fail to build in ourselves.

    I also like the Idea of running a survey because our audience matters a lot.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    ~Izuzu

  29. Hey Kelly,

    At this time of the year are minds are going in every direction during Christmas, and New Years will trying to lay low from all the excitement.

    You are right on point with these tips. #4 is something I’ve been doing for the past two years and it works quite well. When it comes to doing anything, you want to make your plans so that you’ll have a good direction of what you’re going to do whether it be each week or each day!

    Thanks for sharing! Have a Happy New Year!

  30. Hi kelly,
    Thank you so much for your article, your idea of “survey” is great and it really worked . Your tips helped me out to increase viewers on my blogg and getting good response.
    I Really look forward to see more interesting articles in future.

  31. Hi, Kelly I really like the way you write and will definitely try to upgrade my blog as per tips you have given.. specially about the consistency of writing the posts…every Thursday.

    because most of us think dream but never do the things…required..so consistency is really an important aspect to find our dreams come true.